I joined Kim Slater, Jonathan Taylor and Sheelagh Gallagher to discuss the Costa Book Awards 2015 on Thursday 21st January (7.30pm) at West Bridgford Library. The Costa Book Awards are split into five categories: novel, first novel, biography, poetry and children’s book. This meant reading five books in a week, quite a challenge! We discussed the category winning books in the running for the overall award, plus awards and writing in general, and also shared some of our own writing with the audience. The Lie Tree (which was, indeed, the overall winner) and A God in Ruins seemed to be the favourites to win, although if I had to choose, I’d go for The Invention of Nature for the sheer brilliance of both subject and author!
The Limestone Journeys partnership is coming to an end after five years. I’ve been delivering the creative engagement for Junction Arts since 2011, through participatory arts activities in the scheme area (mainly Bolsover District). There were 20 separate projects (part of our Rural Programme) funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund, many running over multiple years, including film, literature, performance and heritage crafts. The final project to complete is a new sculpture trail in Poulter Country Park, a re-greened ex-colliery tip in Derbyshire, which launched on Tuesday 24th November. ‘Top Of The World’ completes the first stage in the development of this trail and connects with the Archaeological Way and Art Along The Way.
We worked with Ewan Allinson, a master craftsman stone waller, Derbyshire County Council, and the local community including Primary schools and the Langwith Whaley Thorns heritage centre. Other artists involved earlier in the year included David Mayne and poet Liz Cashdan. Despite the wet weather, we had a turnout of around 1oo people for the launch, who gamely splashed along the muddy trail to see the finished result. Some were participants in the Limestone Journeys conference at Creswell Crags earlier that day, where I represented Junction Arts in talking about our involvement in the Landscape Partnership and the process of engaging people with the landscape through creative practice.
Living For The City is a new show combining poetry, words and music from Renaissance One. Very proud to be in the company of Panya Banoko, Joe Coghlan and Michael Brome, supporting Andrew ‘MulletProof’ Graves’ amazing new show, God Save The Teen. I saw the scratch show at NWS and it was brilliant, so I’ve seen it twice now, still laughing and crying! Andy’s show reflects on his relationship with his ex-miner single father. Oddly enough, 20 November was my Dad’s birthday – he passed away about 10 years ago. So while reflecting on ‘the city’ I also chose poems relating to my father, who was very much a rural man. R1 made a video of the event, to follow.
Living For The City: Joe Coghlan, Panya Banjoko, Aly Stoneman, Michael Brome, and Psykhomantus
Outstanding regional writers and a DJ respond to their home cities of Derby, Nottingham and Leicester, and explore sights, sounds and daily interactions through their hand-picked soundtrack of words, and music by DJ Psykhomantus. Curated by Melanie Abrahams, Produced by Renaissance One
Lincoln Drill Hall, 7.30-9.30pm with music until late £8 (£6 concessions)
I was surprised and thrilled to win the Buxton Poetry Competition with my poem ‘Windfalls’ on the theme of ‘Time’. David Wilson was second and Joe Caldwell was third. The judge this year was Helen Mort. I’m a big fan of Helen’s work (one of the reasons that I entered the competition) and so I was doubly excited that she chose my poem.
All the winning poems are available to read on the competition website. http://www.buxtonfestival.co.uk/outreach/poetry-competition/
I was also mentioned on the Poetry Society website (more excitement!): http://poetrysociety.org.uk/news/aly-stoneman-wins-buxton-poetry-competition/
I’ve had a good start to the year, after a bit of a hiatus over the last two years when I was writing (but not enough, and very slowly) and not really submitting any work. Crystal Clear Creators (who published my pamphlet ‘Lost Lands’ in 2012 and have been tremendously supportive of many East Midlands writers) celebrated their 10th Anniversary this year with an anthology of poems, which included my poem ‘Thalassa’ (Greek for ‘the sea’). I also have a humorous poem ‘Song of the White Van’ in The Coffee House in their last planned issue (edited by Deborah Tyler-Bennett). I’ve had my fair share of rejections, like most writers, but they serve to make the occasional success so much sweeter. Thanks to everyone who has supported and encouraged me.
Astronomy in the Big Yellow Bus, a very short film about the partial solar eclipse, as seen at Curbar Edge, Derbyshire: Watch Here
I’ve been asked to speak on the panel ‘Finding Your Place in the Writing Community’ 11am-11.45am at the Writers’ Conference. The panel will aim to help attendees identify where to seek guidance and support both face-to-face and online, and how to find their place in the writing community. I coordinated the first Writing Industries Conference back in 2010 (seems like a lifetime ago) for Writing East Midlands, so it is particularly lovely to be invited to take part in the day. It has nearly sold out, but I think there are still a few tickets available from the website
Many thanks to Gabriele Zuccarini and Renaissance One for this short film of Ms Hood performed live, including the ‘Dawn of the Unread’ graphic story images by Amanda Tribble
Also a film of the Live Performance at Embrace Arts in April 2014. Many thanks to Renaissance One for the mentoring and support I received through The Final Stage project. Dawn of the Unread has also just been shortlisted for a Guardian University Award. All very exciting.